Five Tips to Land Your First Internship
For the last three months I have served as a Media Intern at LevLane, one of Philadelphia’s most prominent and respected advertising agencies (I would flat-out tell you that they are the coolest one, but that would be biased.) It’s my first internship, and I could not be more thankful to have the opportunity.
The experience has kind of been like riding a motorcycle with training wheels: a full-speed tour of a world that I’m very excited to join. A year ago, I was desperately wondering how I could break into the industry with the ever-important First Internship. Do you find yourself in that same place? Keep reading.
Five Tips to Land Your First Internship:
- Start Early – I began interviewing for internships in the spring of my freshman year. The interviews themselves gave me a great idea of what kind of place would build me professionally, and the experience of applying and interviewing gave me handy tips that I used when I had my interview at LevLane. Bonus tip: come to the interview with at least 3 questions prepared for your interviewer. They will ask you if you have any questions and you don’t want to be caught off guard. Use those questions as your time to show your curiosity and passion!
- Meet Qualifications in the Middle – Oftentimes, I come across internship postings that don’t seem to necessarily fit my qualifications. Don’t know Photoshop (or even Excel?) An introductory knowledge could be all that you need to get your foot in the door. Use resources like Lynda.com or register for software electives to get the initial chops you need. Those skills will undoubtedly be expanded at your internship!
- Use Your Resources – The amount of resources available to the Advertising Department at Temple is unreal. If you aren’t already, get on the Advertising Department ListServ, which gives you a heads up about internships and events. Open and read every email from Professor Dana Saewitz or other professors in the department- if they didn’t have something important to tell you, they wouldn’t have emailed you. Join Temple Ad Club (if it fits your schedule,) Philly Ad Club, and other professional organizations to keep you in the loop of what is going on in the industry.
- Make Friends – Joining professional organizations gives you access to events, tours, and networking opportunities that are perfect for students. Make a point to attend them and rub some shoulders! Though it’s easy to assume that you’re just a student, you are a big part of the Philadelphia advertising scene, and many people love to help students. It can be a little scary, but know that there is nothing to lose from friendly conversation.
- Keep an Open Mind and an Open Schedule – There is no such thing as a wasted experience. Even if you don’t love every second of your internship, any experience will help you decide the next choice you will make on your professional journey. Also, I would highly recommend scheduling your classes for a semester on either only Tuesday/Thursday or M/W/F. That way, you can commit full days to your internship. This is extremely attractive to a person evaluating your application and will acclimate you to the full work day.